Jailed, ex-St. Tammany coroner faces more charges

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan, who is serving a two-year sentence in federal prison, was indicted on new state charges for allegedly using his public office for his personal financial gain.
The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1jdZLY8 ) a state grand jury handed up three counts of theft against Galvan. The theft counts, which are all for amounts over $1,500, are for making personal purchases with coroner office funds, illegally paying himself benefits he wasn't entitled to, and using a coroner office employee to fulfill his personal contract to provide medical services at the Slidell jail.
Galvan pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit theft. A week after he was charged, a state Legislative Auditor's report alleged more extensive wrongdoing. Friday's indictment echoes many of those allegations.
The audit contends Galvan paid his private medical practice more than $400,000 over a nine-year period for work that was done at the Slidell jail by his chief investigator, Mark Lombard. It also pointed to deals he cut that helped a private business partner and his cashing out of vacation time and sick leave.
The bill of information in federal court dealt with a shorter time period for his deal with the jail, pegging the personal profit to Galvan at $50,000. It didn't name Lombard, but described an "Individual B." Lombard resigned at the same time as Galvan.
The audit criticized his work habits, too, and noted that Galvan took $160,679 in cash payouts for vacation and sick leave, treating himself as a full-time employee even though he rarely came to the office.
The audit found that Galvan spent $52,491 on personal items — more than the approximately $30,000 that federal prosecutors alleged.
Those included purchases for his boat and plane and meals, including alcohol.

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